Online dating at Westmont

Student survey reveals students' thoughts on online dating.

Kiani Hildebrandt, Staff Writer

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Dating at Westmont can get tricky with a small student population. So this past week, The Horizon sent out a survey to get students’ responses to several questions about online dating, including apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Coffee Meets Bagel to see what are students’ perspectives on the apps and online dating culture. 

From the given responses, The Horizon analyzed 100 students. Overall, participation in the survey was evenly spread out, from first-years to fourth-years. 

About 30 percent of the students who responded had used an online dating app. Twenty of those students used it for a short time. 

Half of the students have a neutral experience towards dating, while about 23% have a negative, and 25% have had positive feelings towards the app. 

A majority of the students only used it for one to two months while a few used apps for up to two years. 70% of the students that took the survey were women. 

Out of the students that took the survey, 70 percent of the ones who have used the apps have used Tinder, while the other two apps mainly used were Bumble and Hinge. 

These are just statistics from 100 students, but they are reflective on some perspectives that students share on online dating.

Third-year Emily Mosher said, “Online dating … there’s a lot of negative stereotyping, especially with women. I’ve never heard men be stereotyped for participating. There’s an assumption that if you’re participating in online dating you are a part of hookup culture which is partly true, but especially now there are a lot of positive stories. I feel guilty if I even consider using it. It’s an assumption that women are desperate because they can’t meet someone on their own.” 

Most online dating apps use photos and descriptions of the participants for other users to see. When people match, they can start a conversation. 

In an app like Tinder, the man commonly makes the first move. In Bumble, it is the woman who has to initiate the conversation. “For some women, online dating could even be empowering,” Mosher said. 

Some apps come with more negative connotations. Tinder is known as the fun, super casual app. 

Third-year Riley Black said, “Online dating, Tinder specifically, is a catalyst for hookup culture. It doesn’t encourage genuine relationships.” 

There are other apps that try to stray away from hookup culture, including Hinge and even Bumble. 

Hinge’s mission statement is: “In today’s digital world, singles are so busy matching that they’re not actually connecting, in person, where it counts. Hinge is on a mission to change that. So we built an app that’s designed to be deleted.” 

Bumble is different; its creators view the app as social networking. 

Their mission statement states: “Healthy relationships are central to living a positive, productive life. Bumble is a social network that allows you to feel empowered while you make those connections, whether you’re dating, looking for friends, or growing your professional network.”

“‘Hinge is on a mission to change [the lack in personal connection]. So we built an app that’s designed to be deleted.’” 

-Hinge mission statement

Kayla Abeyta, a fourth-year, shared how she feels these apps are received at Westmont: “I think being on a campus that doesn’t know how to casually date, I think a lot of time online dating is looked with shame ­­— it doesn’t have to be like that. If you want to meet someone new, go meet someone new. It’s an unsaid thing, but Westmont can’t view online dating with being Christian.” 

70 

percent of those who’ve used dating apps have used Tinder

Jason Cha, Director of Intercultural Programs at Westmont, recently married his wife, whom he met through online dating. 

Cha said, “I met my wife through an online dating app after initially having some hesitation about dating online. In today’s day and age, I think online dating is a practical way to date and connect with people with similar values.”

Overall, there are many strong and dynamic perspectives when it comes to online dating at Westmont College. 

Fourth-year Taryn Durnham, added, “Our generation grew up being taught not to talk to strangers, but now we’re meeting people for the first time and we’ve only interacted with them on the internet. It’s become the norm now for modern dating.”

As technology and culture keep evolving, so too will online dating. How Christian culture and ethics evolve with it is still to be seen.